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Amazon is considered to be the most “authentic” brand, both globally and in the US, according to the latest annual “Authentic Brands” report from Cohn & Wolfe. Amazon moves up from the 4th position last year, and is followed in the global rankings by Apple, which also moved up 3 spots.

Rounding out the top 5 globally this year are Microsoft, Google and PayPal. As such each of the 5 brands considered most “authentic” by people around the world are digital brands. (Recent research also shows that tech brands occupy all of the top 10 brand loyalty rankings in the US. That list was led by… Amazon.)

The research is based on a survey of more than 15,000 consumers across 15 markets, measuring their perceptions of 1,400 brands.

The US list features a number of different brands from the global list – perhaps due to country-based lists featuring a bevy of domestic brands. (Only around 200 of the more than 1,400 brands measured are global.)

The only brands shared between the global and US lists are Amazon, PayPal (#2 in the US) and LEGO (#6 in the US; #8 globally). Amazon has picked up its fair share of accolades, but LEGO should not be forgotten. In fact, it’s been rated the world’s second-most reputable company as well as the world’s “most powerful” brand.

According to Cohn & Wolfe,authenticity depends on how much consumers perceive a brand to be:

  • Reliable: delivering on promises; being high quality;
  • Respectful: treating customers well; protecting customer privacy/data; and
  • Real: communicating honestly; being genuine and real, not artificial; and acting with integrity.

Last year, Cohn & Wolfe found just 22% of consumers surveyed around the world agreeing that brands and companies are open and honest. While brands fared worst on that measure, they didn’t do much better on others: for example, just 1 in 4 respondents agree that brands can be trusted.

Research indicates that authenticity (or the perception thereof) is extremely important for brands, and may be particularly influential in drawing Millennials, for whom authenticity is a top-5 brand attribute.

Brands that succeed on this measure seem likely to be positioned for success, as a recent study indicates that brands around the world are facing an “authenticity gap.”

The full list of the “Global Authentic 100” can be found here.

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